Guest correspondent Sim Branaghan returns with a retrospective peek at the TV horror seasons of yore, exploring the ways our viewing habits were changed by the advent of home video, and in the process asks: did you see that bit where he chopped her head off with a shovel?
As a companion piece to my ongoing ramble through the delights of thrilling all’italiana, Giallo-a-Go-Go, I’ve invited poster expert and chum Sim Branaghan (author of British Film Posters [BFI 2006]) to contribute a Guest Post detailing the British Experience of this hot-blooded genre, more specifically through the poster images used by UK quad illustrators and designers.
Button up your black raincoat, zip up your gloves and prepare to wallow in the sexy-violent world of the Italian giallo. Amongst the treats in this five-part feature: Death Walks on High Heels, The Iguana With a Tongue of Fire, The Bloodstained Butterfly, Crimes of the Black Cat – and more!
Denis Villeneuve’s take on the first-contact theme is poignant and refreshingly intelligent, if somewhat hobbled by an out-of-nowhere twist. But its sober, reflective tone is pleasingly mature; just try not to think of The Simpsons when those heptapods show up.
A brace of stylish shockers, in which naïve dreams of stardom turn to grisly nightmare. In Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon (2016), a wannabe supermodel arrives in LA to find herself top of the menu; and in Kevin Kölsch/Dennis Widmyer’s Starry Eyes (2014), a wannabe actress finds the reality around her falling apart after attending the movie audition from hell.
Sharon Tate dazzles in her screen debut, tormenting matronly dimwit Deborah Kerr with amulets, arrows and pierced doves; meanwhile, dutiful Marquis David Niven undergoes secret Masonic rituals with sinister cowled monks underground. Confused? You will be. But for aficionados of black-and-white British horror, Eye of the Devil is far better than its reputation suggests.
Yet another reboot of an old, old idea in new(ish) togs; charmless, wall-to-wall CGI devastation replaces the painstakingly-constructed miniature landscapes of 70s kaiju-fests. Human interest is pretty much nil, but feisty bombshell Satomi Ishihara ensures things never get too drab.
Well, they finally did it: Ballard’s savage satire of upward mobility has made it to the big screen at last, after decades of abortive high-profile productions. While High-Rise ticks many JGB boxes, it’s not quite the full-on trip into the heart of darkness it might have been.
Director Leslie Megahey’s 1979 adaptation of the LeFanu classic was originally produced for the BBC’s Omnibus programme; it’s a fascinating blend of meticulous period detail and transgressive horror.
David Gladwell’s striking 1981 adaptation Doris Lessing’s novel, starring Julie Christie. An enigmatic and sometimes disturbing study of abuse and its aftermath, it’s a must for fans of arty science fiction.
The Devils, Mexican-style, courtesy of one-time Jodorowsky associate Juan López Moctezuma. It’s mind-bogglingly lurid, frequently hilarious and enormous fun – though you may need a quiet lie down afterwards.
Joan Crawford, Michael Gough, Suzy Kendall, Judy Geeson… All this, and David Essex too – how could you resist? Unless Billy Smart’s Circus or weak-kneed British gialli ring your bell, my advice is to try.
A brilliant, heart-stopping horror gem from director David Robert Mitchell. This one comes with an electronic score from Disasterpeace that’s guaranteed to shred your nerves. Find it, before it finds you.
Peter Cushing stars in Robert Hartford-Davies’s epic poem to bad taste; thigh-slapping fun, especially in its Filthy Foreign Version, the film has been given a splendid new high-def transfer from Grindhouse.
An outrageously entertaining Greek giallo, packed with enough lurid thrills, sex, nudity and death to fill a dozen films. Another must-see DVD release from Mondo Macabro.
Before Last Year at Marienbad baffled and enthralled cinemagoers worldwide, before a rag-tag group of castaways were stranded in Lost, an Argentine writer published a slender volume that would intrigue and inspire poets and filmmakers for the next seventy years. Its title: The Invention of Morel. In this feature article, we examine that influential novella and the two major film adaptations that followed.
A quietly compelling take on the “alien bodysnatchers” template: proof that you don’t necessarily need Big Ideas to make a SF story work, just good old-fashioned storytelling talent.
A brilliantly unique take on the post-apocalypse theme, from one of Science Fiction’s most cerebral talents. A mobile city crawls North along a system of rails, staying one step ahead of centrifugal destruction: knockout stuff.
Engrossing, original, almost unbearably distressing: Michel Faber’s latest (and last?) may be the closest thing to a religious experience a non-believer can get.
Those increasingly dissatisfied with Cronenberg’s recent film output may find much to enjoy in Consumed, a darkly witty first novel shot through with the director’s trademark style. Beneath the aberrant sexual detail and fetishistic obsession with technology is a snarky assault on the temple of commerce.